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Gantz appointed new Israel military chief

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel appointed Major General Benny Gantz as new military chief on Sunday, ending months of bitter infighting among top generals as it grapples with political changes sweeping the region. Gantz, 51, replaces Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, whose term as chief of staff of the armed forces ends…

Obama consults Saudi King Abdullah on Egypt

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama stressed the need for a meaningful and lasting political transition in Egypt in a telephone call with key ally King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, officials said. “The President spoke today with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia about the situation in Egypt,” the White House said…

Pollutants threaten giant aquifer under Mexico

WASHINGTON – Pharmaceuticals, pesticides, chemical run-off from highways and many other pollutants infiltrate the giant aquifer under Mexico’s “Riviera Maya,” a new study shows. The report published in the journal Environmental Pollution argues that the waste contaminates a vast labyrinth of water-filled caves under the popular tourist destination on the…

Saboteurs attack Egypt gas pipeline to Jordan

CAIRO (AFP) – Unknown saboteurs attacked an Egyptian pipeline supplying gas to Jordan, forcing authorities to switch off gas supply from a twin pipeline to Israel, an official told AFP. The attackers used explosives against the pipeline in the town of Lihfen in northern Sinai, near the Gaza Strip, the…

Iraq water shortages raising ethnic tensions

KIRKUK, Iraq — A worsening water shortage in Iraq is raising tensions in the multi-ethnic Kirkuk province, where Arab farmers accuse the Kurdistan region of ruining them by closing the valves to a dam in winter. “We are harmed by the Kurds, and the officials responsible for Baghdad and Kirkuk…

‘I will uncover all the secrets,’ Russian spy Anna Chapman declares

MOSCOW – Russian spy Anna Chapman launched her own weekly TV show on Friday, in her latest public foray since she was deported by the United States last July in a Cold War-style swap. The 28-year-old redhead has posed in lingerie, attended a space launch and even had a sing-a-long…

Northeast storm to bring heavy snow

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A storm system moving up the East Coast is expected to bring areas of heavy snow and winds to New England on Friday, spreading into Maine late into the night. Highs in the Northeast will be colder than average, ranging from the teens in the interior…

Observers approve South Sudan vote

JUBA, Sudan (AFP) – Foreign observer missions on Monday endorsed the credibility of south Sudan’s landmark independence vote to the delight of the region’s ruling party, although it held off on declaring victory. Poll observers from both the European Union and the six-nation east African bloc that helped broker the…

New England battles blizzard conditions

BOSTON (Reuters) – New England battled blizzard conditions on Wednesday with the second major snowstorm of the winter season pummeling parts of the region with nearly two feet of snow by morning commuting time. Snow fall measurements climbed throughout the day, with parts of Connecticut and western Massachusetts reporting nearly…

White House to offer Pakistan even more support: report

The Obama administration will offer Pakistan more military, intelligence and economic support, a message that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will deliver next week during a visit to the country amid strained relations, the Washington Post reported on Saturday. President Barack Obama and other top U.S. officials have criticized Pakistan…

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